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‘Double Up’ food bucks a win-win for Ozarks families, Farmers and Communities

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Greater Springfield Farmers Market is a popular weekend destination for people who want their food locally grown.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – By visiting a participating farmer’s market in southwest Missouri, participants in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Education Program (SNAP) can double the value of every dollar they spend and use that toward the purchase of local fruits and vegetables.

Farmer’s Markets in Springfield, Webb City, Branson, Houston and other Missouri locations are participating. Customers can find a location online at www.doubleupheartland.org.

“Double Up Food Bucks makes it easier for low-income families to eat fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies,” said Jenni Nevatt, program manager for the University of Missouri Extension Family Nutrition Education Program in southwest Missouri.

The Double Up Heartland Collaborative is aligning and scaling up successful healthy food incentive programs. Partners in this strong, two-state effort will serve more farmers and low-income families with the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program.

The past seven years have seen the start of successful healthy food incentive programs in the Midwest that match the value of SNAP dollars spent at participating sites, helping people bring home more locally grown fruits and vegetables, while supporting local farmers. The USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program allows regional organizations to collaborate for broader impact for area families and farmers.

Double Up Food Bucks has been expanded to number of sites in 2017, building upon existing momentum, expertise and interest from new communities, and providing a simplified experience for SNAP participants.

The Double Up Food Bucks program began at five farmers markets in Detroit in 2009 and is now made available through local partners at farmers markets and grocery stores in 19 states, including Missouri, Kansas, and neighboring Illinois, Colorado, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Informational flyers explain the program are available on the Greene County MU Extension website at extension.missouri.edu.

University of Missouri Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program helps to reduce health care costs by bringing the latest nutrition information to Missourians. Through FNEP, nutrition associates with MU Extension offer nutrition lessons with hands-on activities that are designed for youth and the adults that support them, pregnant teens and immigrant populations. For more information, contact FNEP regional office in Springfield at (417) 886-2059.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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